Principal search underway

Teachers aren’t the only ones who have to apply for their jobs next year — so does Principal Daniel Hurst.

Hurst was the principal at College Preparatory & Architecture Academy since it became  small school in 2003. Since the beginning of this school year, he has been the principal of all three schools and has been busy planning for the new school.

Hurst says that about a month and a half ago, a district official told him he had to go through a community selection process if he wanted to be the principal of the school formed in July when CPAA, Media Academy and Mandela Academy officially merge.

Hurst put his application in.

“I feel that I’m committed to the school changing to be great. I believe I can make that happen,” Hurst said.

If the committee chooses someone else, Hurst said, “I will understand.”

Whoever is the new principal will have a big job as soon as they step in — deciding who will be the teachers for the new school. The district has decided to create “Teachers on Special Assignment” positions for all Fremont teachers next year and extend their year by 18 days.

The interviews for the teachers cannot start until the new principal is put into place.

A principal selection committee — made up of teachers, students, staff members and community members — has been meeting since early February to prepare for interviewing and choosing a leader. The committee was expected to hold interviews on March 15 and make a recommendation to Superintendent Tony Smith. A final decision, which must be approved by the Oakland Unified School District board, is expected by the end of the month.

Mandela science teacher Khanh Nguyen feels honored to be one of the three teachers on the committee.

“[It] is a rare opportunity to be able to choose your boss,” said Nguyen.

Students also have a voice in choosing a principal. Daisy White, the newly elected Fremont Federation student body president, is on the selection committee.

“I am looking for a principal who always put enough effort into the students and who is willing to grow some gray/white hairs,” said White, a junior at Mandela Academy.

Parents on the committee say they want a principal who shows he or she cares about students.

“I wish my child’s schools [had] support and gets to be a better school,” said Alejandra Baez, whose daughter attends CPAA. “[I want] a principal who cares for the kids.”